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my labours lost, than accuse you of unkindness. I send this by lady Lansdown, who I hope will have no curiosity to open my letter, since she will find in it, that I never saw any thing so miserably altered in my life: I really did not know her :
“ So must the fairest face appear,
When youth and years are flown;
When something over-blown."
My daughter makes such a noise in the room, 'tis impossible to go on in this heroic style. I hope yours
is in great bloom of beauty. I fancy to myself we shall liave the pleasure of seeing them cotoasts of the next age. I don't at all doubt but they will outshine all the little Auroras of this, for there never was such a parcel of ugly girls as reign at present. In recompense, they are very kind, and the men very merciful, and content in this dearth of charms with the poorest stuff in the world. This you'd believe, had I but time to tell you the tender loves of lord Romney and lady Carmichill; they are so fond, it does one's heart good to see them. There are some other pieces of scandal not unentertaining, particularly the earl of S****r and lady M. H*****d, who, being your acquaintance, I thought would be some comfort to you. The town improves daily; all people seem to make the best of the talent God has given 'em.
The race of Roxbourghs, Thanets, and Suffolks, are utterly extinct; and every things appears with that edifying plain dealing, that I may say, in the words of the Psalmist," there is no sin in Israel.”
I have already thanked you for my night-gown, but 'tis so pretty it will bear being twice thanked for.
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO THE COUNTESS OF MAR.
Twickenham, 1721. I was very glad to hear from you, though there was something in your letters very monstrous and shocking. I wonder with what conscience you can talk to me of your being an old woman: I beg I may hear no more of it. For my part I pretend to be as young as ever, and really am as young as needs to be, to all intents and purposes. I attribute all this to your living so long at Chatton, and fancy a week at Paris will correct such wild imaginations, and set things in a better light. My cure for lowness of spirits is not drinking nasty water, but galloping all day, and a moderate glass of Champaigne at night in good company; and I believe this regimen, closely followed, is one of the most wholesome that can be prescribed, and may save one a world of filthy doses, and more filthy doctor's fees at the year's end. I rode to Twicke enbam last night, and, after so long a stay in town, am not sorry to find myself in my garden; our neighbourhood is much improved by the removal of some old maids, and the arrival of some fine gentlemen, amongst whom are lord Middleton and sir J. Gifford, who, perhaps, are your acquaintances; they live with their aunt, lady Westmore
land; and we endeavour to make the country agreeable to one another.
Doctor Swift and Johnny Gay are at Pope's, and their conjunction has produced a ballad, which, if nobody else has sent you, I will, being never better pleased than when I am endeavouring to amuse my dear sister, and ever yours.
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO TIIE COUNTESS OF MAR.
Twickenham, Oct. 20, 1723. I AM heartily sorry to have the pleasure of hearing from you lessened by your complaints of uneasiness, which I wish with all my soul I was capable of relieving, either by my letters or any other way. My life passes in a kind of indolence which is now and then awakened by agreeable moments; but pleasures are transitory, and the ground-work of every thing in England stupidity, which is certainly owing to the coldness of this vile climate. I envy you the serene air of Paris, as well as many other conveniences there: what between the things one cannot do, and the things one must not do, the time but dully lingers on; though I make as good a shift as many of my neighbours. To my great grief, some of my best friends have been extremely ill; and, in general, death and sickness have never been more frequent than now. You may imagine poor gallantry droops; and, except in the elysian shades of Richmond, there is no such thing as love
or pleasure. It is said there is a fair lady retired for having taken too much of it: for my part they are not at all cooked to my taste; and I have very little share in the diversions there, which, except seasoned with wit, or at least vivacity, will not go down with me, who have not altogether so voracious an appetite as I once had: I intend, however, to shine and be fine on the birth-night, and review the figures there. My poor friend the young duchess of Marlborough, I am afraid, has exposed herself to a most violent ridicule; she is as much embarrassed with the loss of her expected child, and as much ashamed of it, as ever a dairy-maid was with the getting one.
I desire you would say something very pretty to your daughter in my name: notwithstanding the great gulf that is at present between us, I hope to wait on her to an opera one time or other. I suppose you know our uncle Fielding is dead: I regret him prodigiously.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
Oct. 31, 1723. I write to you at this time piping-hot from the birth-night; my brain warmed with all the agreeable ideas that fine clothes, fine gentlemen, brisk tunes, and lively dances, can raise there. It is to be hoped that my letter will entertain you; at least you will certainly have the freshest account of all passages on that glorious day. First, you must know that I led up the ball, which you'll stare at; but what is more, I believe in my conscience I made one of the best figures there ; to say truth, people are grown so extravagantly ugly, that we old beauties are forced to come out on show-days, to keep the court in countenance. I saw Mrs. Murray there, through whose hands this epistle will be conveyed; I do not know whether she will make tbe same compliment to you that I do. Mrs. West was with her, who is a great prude, having but two lovers at a time: I think those are lord Haddington and Mr. Lindsay; the one for use, the other for show.
The world improves in one virtue to a violent degree, I mean plain-dealing. Hypocrisy being, as the Scripture declares, a damnable sin, I hope our publicans and sinners will be saved by the open profession of the contrary virtue. I was told by a very good author, who is deep in the secret, that at this very minute there is a bill cooking up at a hunting-seat in Norfolk, to bave not taken out of the commandments and clapped into the creed, the ensuing session of parliament. This bold attempt for the liberty of the subject is wholly projected by Mr. Walpole, who proposed it to the secret committee in his parlour. William Young seconded it, and answered for all his acquaintance voting right to a man: Doddington very gravely objected, that the obstinacy of human nature was such, that he feared when they had positive commands to do so, perhaps people would not commit adultery and bear false witness against their neighbours with the readiness and cheerfulness they do